Chapter 2. Skill C

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√ Campus Life.
√ History.
√ Literature.
√ Campus Life.
√ Computers.
√ Geography.

1 Campus Life.

W: What is that weird phone for, anyway?
M: The one with the blue lights?
W: Yeah.
M: That’s an emergency phone. You just push the red button, and
you get campus security.
W: I guess that’s a good idea. It probably works more as a deterrent
than a phone though.
M: What do you mean?
W: Well, I was just thinking that if you were going to attack somebody,
you wouldn’t do it anywhere near a blue light phone.
M: Yeah, I guess I never thought of that. It can also be used for
other emergencies though---like, if you hurt yourself.
W: Does anybody ever use it even when they don’t have an emergency?
M: I think there’s a pretty hefty fine if you do. I mean, if you press
that button and don’t say anything, they know your location
and will get there pretty fast.
W: They know your location? That’s a good idea. Sometimes, you
can’t communicate in an emergency.
M: Yeah, that’s why the prank calls are taken so seriously. They’ll
still come out here to verify that there isn’t a problem, even if
you don’t utter a word.
W: So, what if you’re inside, and you need help?
M: Same as anywhere else... you call 9-1-1.
W: But wouldn’t it be better to call campus security? I mean, they’re a
lot closer.
M: Yeah, you can call campus security, and then they’ll call 9-1-1.
That’s probably a better idea, actually.
W: Yeah, but then again, you’re not going to take the time to look
up the number during an emergency.
M: Yeah, It’d be a good idea to keep the number by your phone.
W: And what about those campus phones? For a normal call you
have to dial 9 first. So, do you have to dial 9-9-1-1, or does 9-1-1
work automatically?
M: No, I think you do have to dial 9-9-1-1.
W: That’s good to know.
M: Another thing, campus security has two numbers. You have to
make sure you’re calling the right one.
W: What’s the other one for?
M: Non-emergency situations.
W: Non-emergency? Like what?
M: Like if you need to report a crime. You call 9-1-1 if there’s a fire,
or if you have a medical emergency...
W: Yeah, or a crime, right?
M: A crime in progress, yes. But suppose you’re not in any immediate
danger. Suppose you are the victim of a crime, then you would
report it to campus security by calling the non-emergency number.
W: Like if someone stole your history paper?
M: Very funny. No, but if someone stole your CD player, you could
report that.
W: I wouldn’t go to the regular police for something like that?
M: For a CD player? No. That’s something you’d report to the campus
W: I’ve been really lucky. I haven’t had any emergencies or crimes
in the past two years.
M: Except for that stolen history paper.

2 History.

M: Good day students! I’m pretty jazzed about today’s lecture topic,
and I hope you all will be, too. If you find simply remembering
and regurgitating names and dates a little dull, then this topic may
be of interest to you. There are names and dates involved, but
today I want you to engage, weigh, and analyze the information
I present. Sound good? All right, let’s continue.
In your textbooks and other various sources, you will encounter
several contradictory theories regarding pre-Columbian discoveries
of America. Can any of you clarify what I mean by “pre-Columbian”?
W: That means before Columbus arrived in the Americas, right?
Before 1492?
M: Very good. That’s correct. Most of us have learned that Columbus
somehow “discovered” the continents, despite the fact that people
were already living there... doesn’t really make sense, now does
it? The Native American people who had been living in the
Americas for thousands of years aside, there are several claims
that Europeans, Africans, or Asians had visited the Americas before
Columbus. Historians typically either reject or accept these notions
outright. A good historian, however, avoids both of these extremes.
Since I want all of you to become good historians, then you too
should avoid both of these extremes. As I mentioned, you must
engage, weigh, and analyze the available information before
coming to a conclusion, and even then, such conclusions can be
tentative at best.
Umm, OK, let’s look at some examples. Let’s begin with theories
of early European contact. There are some sculptures of Peruvian
gods that look nearly identical to Greek sculptures of Medusa.
This has led to talk of an Ancient Greek presence in the Americas.
In addition, people of the Hopi nation located in the southwestern
US have stories about “Anasazi,” or “ancient ones,” who visited
them. Some say the Hopi culture shows signs of Greek influence.
Furthermore, the Aztec had a god called “Quetzalcoatl” who
featured a white beard and was said to have come from the East.
Could this god have been an Ancient Greek? Moving from Greece,
now, there are also medieval Muslim reports from Moorish Spain.
They speak of sailing across “the ocean of darkness and fog”
and finding new populated lands there. While it is true that this
ocean was the Atlantic, it is not clear if they landed in the Americas
or just in some Atlantic islands. OK, so far we have some artistic
similarities, some possible physical similarities with the white
beard, and some textual clues from Europe. How do you feel
about these? Are you convinced?
W: Well, not really.
M: OK. Why not?
W: Well, I’ve seen the pictures in the textbook of the Peruvian
“Medusa” and well, I think the Peruvian people could have just
invented their own god with a passing resemblance to the
Greek Medusa. I don’t think it’s really the same deity. Also, like
you said, the text could have just been referring to some islands
in the Atlantic rather than a new continent.
M: Great job. As historians, we must approach evidence with a
skeptic’s mind. There is, though, one clear-cut case with solid
evidence. Norse Vikings did explore and settle present-day Canada
at least 500 years before Columbus. Leif Eriksson, son of Erik
the Red, the founder of Greenland, discovered a new land that
he called Vinland, which is now thought to be in Newfoundland,
a Canadian province. There would be at least five additional Viking
expeditions to Canada and even some temporary settlements.
At first, we found textual evidence for these journeys in Norse
sagas. Since then, we have strong physical, archaeological evidence
to show this contact did take place. For example, there are the
remains of Viking houses and villages, as well as old Viking tools
found in the area. In fact, there are now three UNESCO world
heritage sites in Canada devoted to Viking archaeological
remains. So, to reiterate, this combination of historical texts
detailing Viking trips to the New World with actual physical
evidence left behind by the Vikings allows us to say with certainty
that the Vikings “discovered” the Americas long before
Now, there are numerous other claims relating to explorers from
such places as Africa, Japan, and China. These are all very interesting
and are fun to imagine, but all must be taken with a grain of salt.
Accepting them without hard evidence would be just as
irresponsible as dismissing them altogether.

3 Literature.
M1: Excuse me, professor. I have a question about the coursework
listed here.
W: OK, what’s up?
M1: Well, umm, this course is called Introduction to World Literature,
right, but everything on this syllabus list you handed out is
European. I thought we’d be reading more international works.
W: Ah ha. Good point. Let’s go ahead and address this. Largely,
you are right, and this is unfortunate, so I empathize with your
concerns. The reason for focusing on European literary works is that
there was a big push in the mid-twentieth century to standardize
what was called “The Western Canon,” a set of great literary
works that literature departments in several countries believed
that all students should read. Of course, when I use the term
“canon,” I don’t mean the kind you would find on a pirate’s
ship, I mean a group of books.
Now, this “Western Canon” is comprised of three eras. You see,
literature departments wanted their students to gain exposure
to literature from a wide variety of times as well as styles. The first
of these three eras is the Theocratic Age, from the beginning until
1321. Can anyone tell me or guess at what “theocratic” means?
M2: Umm... is it similar to “democratic”?
W: Well, in a way it is, they both end with “cratic,” don’t they? Who
controls the power in a democratic system?
M2: The voters... the people, right?
W: Exactly right, but in a theocratic system, it’s a god or a supernatural
authority that has the power. The Theocratic Age, then, was a
time in which most nations were ruled according to religious laws.
Books of the Western Canon from the Theocratic Age include
the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, Roman and Greek works like
The Odyssey, and the Old English epic poem, Beowulf. I hope
you’ll notice that all of these works are epic tales with righteous
Now, umm, the second of the three ages covered in the Western
Canon is The Aristocratic Age. The works of this age start with
Dante’s Comedia Divina and run up to Goethe’s Faust, Part Two
penned in 1832. Other works of this age include Cervantes’s
Don Quixote, Shakespeare’s oeuvre, The Canterbury Tales, and
so on. This period saw the emergence of comedy and shorter
forms of poetry like sonnets and ballads. Is everyone keeping
up? The Theocratic Age featured epics and heroic tales and the
Aristocratic Age saw the emergence of other styles, like comedies
and short poems.
Now, the third period covered in the Western Canon is the
Democratic Age. We mentioned how people have the power in
democratic systems. Well, in the Democratic Age, we saw writers
from many different backgrounds get published and gain
prominence. The works of this period mainly include English,
French, and Russian writers, including Flaubert’s Madame Bovary,
Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment, and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry
Finn. Those already familiar with these works will recognize
that these works incorporate new and interesting voices that
were not represented in past ages. Indeed, the major advances
in the Aristocratic Age include the psychological novel, the antihero,
and the new voices and perspectives I mentioned.
Now, admittedly, this is a very Eurocentric and, more particularly,
very Anglo-centric grouping of literature. There is, of course, a
wealth of literature from other areas of the world. East Asian
literature, for example, was particularly rich, featuring works
such as the Tao and Analects of Confucius among many others.
The Vedas and Bhagavad-Gita of ancient India certainly deserve
attention, as do the Koran and the writings of the Arab philosophers
who guarded the torch of learning while Europe slept through
the Dark Ages. Of course, there is also a wealth of oral tradition
from many other places in the world. Hopefully, in the future,
this European slant will give way to a more eclectic sampling. I
certainly encourage all of you to seek out this literature as much
as you can.
It is important to remember, however, that the 21st century world
is, well, held together by the glue of English. Um, I mean that
English is the universal language now and Anglo-American culture
has the greatest influence throughout the world, for better or
for worse. So, my point is, knowledge of this culture is useful for
all of us.

4 Campus Life.
M: Have you thought about what you’re going to do this summer,
W: Well, I can work full time at the restaurant if I want to.
M: That’s where you worked last summer, right?
W: Yes, and I’m still working there part time.
M: Do they pay pretty well?
W: Yes, with tips the money is pretty good, but I’m graduating
next year, so I’d like to get some experience in my field.
M: That’s a good idea. Maybe you should try to get an internship.
W: An internship? I’d love to. It would mean a pay cut, but it’d be
worth it.
M: Yeah, they don’t pay very well, but in the long run, they sure
do pay off. Not only do you get experience, you make all kinds
of contacts.
W: Yes, it would be good to have some experience and some
references under my belt when I start looking for work after
graduation. I just have no idea how to go about finding a summer
M: Why don’t you go to the Summer Job/Internship fair?
W: I didn’t know such a thing existed! When do they hold that?
M: Hang on, I’ve got the pamphlet in my backpack.
W: Great.
M: Here it is...let’s’s actually next week, on the 16th. It starts
at 9:30 a.m. and goes until 3:00 p.m.
W: Is it here on campus?
M: At the University Center Ballroom.
W: That’s great. Is it casual, or should I dress as if I’m going to an
M: It says here that it’s business casual.
W: So, should I bring my resumé?
M:’s not mandatory, but it’s a good idea.
W: OK. Does it say there what kinds of internships are available?
M: You’re into logistics, right?
W: Yup.
M: They’ve got something at Office Depot and at Wal-Mart.
W: Fantastic. Are you going, too?
M: Yes, I’m going to try to get hired on at a summer camp.
W: Oh, that sounds like fun.
M: It sure would be. It would be a good experience, too, since I’m
studying to be a teacher.
W: Yeah, that would be excellent. Are there many camps listed on
M: There are three. One’s at Camp Ton-A-Wandah, one’s at Wesley
Woods, and the other is at Camp Webb.
W: Camp Ton-A-Wandah? I went there when I was a kid! I had a
horrible time. The camp counselors were awful.
M: Really? Well, I’ll be different.
W: I’m sure you will. I’ll give you a few pointers some time.
M: Let’s just wait and see if I get the job.
W: You won’t have any trouble. You’re at the top of your class, and
you do all that volunteer work.
M: Thanks for the vote of confidence. And good luck to you.
W: Thanks, I’ll need it. Hey, do you want to go together?
M: Sure. We should go early.
W: Good idea. We’ll look enthusiastic that way.
M: Let’s meet at 9:15.

5 Computers.
W: A few years ago, director Steven Spielberg made a movie called
AI. It told the story of someone who looked and acted like a little
boy, but wasn’t a little boy. He was a robot, right? I can see
some of you remember that one. Not the greatest movie ever
made, but it’s relevant to today’s topic. Who can tell me what
AI stands for? Yes.
M: Artificial intelligence, of course.
W: Right you are. I guess we’re all familiar with this term these days
from playing too many video games! Though video games relate
to our topic of artificial intelligence, I do not recommend playing
them as a means of studying for the course! Back on topic. We use
artificial intelligence to produce not only video games to challenge
us, but also useful machines that perform human tasks requiring
intelligent behavior. We haven’t yet produced the human-like
robots seen in Spielberg’s AI, of course, but we are getting closer.
In the meantime, we are using AI for some very important tasks.
These include military applications, answering customer questions,
and understanding and transcribing speech. AI systems are
now routinely used by businesses and hospitals, and they are
built into common home computer software such as Microsoft
Office and the video games we all know and love.
Now, it’s important to note that there are several different
branches of AI. With one branch, called Logical AI, a machine
uses deductive logic to decide how it should act. Information
about the world, the machine’s specific situation, and its goals
are represented by logical mathematical language. The machine
decides what to do by inferring that certain actions are appropriate
for achieving its goals.
Another branch is Search AI. This program is able to rapidly
examine a large number of possibilities and choose the best
option. This is used, for example, in computers that play chess.
A third branch of AI is called Pattern Recognition. We can program
a machine to compare what it sees with a pattern. If a machine
looks into a crowd of people, for example, it will match a pattern
of eyes and a nose in order to find a face that it recognizes. Pattern
recognition is also useful for understanding and transcribing
human speech.
A fourth branch is Inference AI. With Inference AI, a machine is
programmed for something called default reasoning. In default
reasoning, when we hear of a bird, we infer that it can fly. However,
if we learn the bird is a penguin, we have to reverse our conclusion
about flight. Default reasoning allows the machine to change
its original inference in situations like this. Now... yes, question?
M: Does AI want to make machines that are as intelligent as people?
W: Yes. The ultimate effort is to make computer programs that can
solve problems and achieve goals in the world as well as humans.
M: How long before that happens?
W: Quite a while, I suspect. The Spielberg movie, remember, was
set many years in the future. One problem is that common-sense
reasoning is the area in which AI is furthest from the human
level. Another problem is that machines presently cannot be
programmed to learn the same way as a child does. Machines
can’t learn from physical experience like a child does, and they
can’t understand language well enough to learn much by reading.
Furthermore, computers are not social beings as humans are.
Where humans pick up on a myriad of tiny, often subconscious
signals from the people around them, computers cannot.
OK, let’s recap a bit. AI, or artificial intelligence, is the attempt
to program computers to have human-like adaptability and
intelligence. There are four main branches of artificial intelligence,
including Logical AI, Search AI, Pattern Recognition AI, and
Inference AI. Each branch focuses on one way in which human
minds deal with the stimuli around us. Logic AI focuses on
deductive reasoning using mathematical language, Search AI
focuses on choosing appropriate actions from a list of possibilities,
Pattern Recognition AI focuses on extrapolating a larger pattern
from evidence of a smaller part of it. And finally, Inference AI
focuses on using input to override default reasoning, like the
example that birds fly, yet discovering that a bird is a penguin can
override that default reasoning. As you know, computers and
machines using artificial intelligence have numerous applications
in homes, offices, factories, laboratories, and even in your video
games. These applications can only grow in number and
importance as our ability to program AI improves.

6 Geography.
M: Good day everyone. Today, we’re going to be looking at some
of the effects the moon has on our lives. Can anyone tell me
one such effect?
W1: Well, ummm, I’ve heard that full moons make people do crazy
M: Ha ha. Yes, I’ve heard that, too. Some statistics support that idea,
but other studies refute it. In any case, you can debate that
more in your psychology classes. But this is geography, so what
physical effect does the moon have on our planet?
W1: Oh, OK then. Well, how about the tides? The moon’s gravitational
pull causes the tides, right?
M: Right you are. That’s the information I was looking for, thank
you. So, we know the moon causes tidal movement in the
oceans, but can the moon cause rain? Do the moon and sun
create tidal effects in the atmosphere as well as the oceans? In
the past century, an air tide, or rather a kind of shifting of the
atmosphere has been recognized. That, specifically, is what we’re
going to discuss today. As always, you are more than welcome
to ask any questions you have as we go along.
The possibility of gravitational tides in the Earth’s atmosphere
was first suggested by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton is most famous
for what discovery? Anyone?
W2: Wasn’t he the gravity guy?
M: The gravity guy? Yes, I think you could say that. Newton was
the first person to describe the force of gravity. Now, he came
up with this theory on atmospheric tides while developing an
explanation for ocean tides. Since 1918, scientists have been
measuring air tides in the Northern Hemisphere, and although
the changes in air pressure are small, their effects are not. Studies
have shown that more cloudiness, rainfall, and storms are
generated during certain lunar phases, such as the full moon.
In fact, even before Newton set down his theories on tides,
people were aware that lunar phases corresponded with the
rise and fall of the ocean tides. More recently, we have found
that the moon is even able to cause deformations in the solid
crust of the Earth. So, much in the same way the moon affects
tidal movement in certain ways, it also pulls on the Earth’s crust
as well, causing it to move, too. Yes. Amazing, isn’t it? The ground
we walk on every day isn’t necessarily as solid as it seems! Yes,
there in the blue sweater?
W1: The textbook mentions that the moon can cause an atmospheric
tide, and that it can create changes in air pressure. Is this an air
tide, and is it true that these changes in air pressure can cause
M: Ah, as I was saying earlier, studies have shown an increase in
storms corresponding to certain lunar phases. While we cannot
yet explain this in full, it does appear that the moon has an
influence on the weather. Whether they directly cause hurricanes
or not, well, we’ll have to wait for further research to determine
that with any certainty, I’m afraid.
Let’s look more at what happens during a full moon, though.
Researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that at the time
of a full moon, the temperature of the lower four miles of the
Earth’s atmosphere increases by a few hundredths of a degree.
Now, a few hundredths of a degree may not sound like much to
you, and you probably couldn’t feel the difference yourselves,
but it is significant. These researchers suggest that the moon
warms our atmosphere in two ways. First, the moon’s surface is
heated by the sun and radiates thermal energy at the Earth. This
energy is much less intense than the energy we get directly
from the sun, but it is supplemented by a second phenomenon.
The moon of course mirrors, or reflects, sunlight at the dark, or
night, side of the Earth. However, the mirror effect is relatively
slight because it reflects just 10 percent of the light of the sun.
Nonetheless, as you all have experienced, I’m sure, that 10
percent is quite significant when compared to the zero percent
reflected during a new moon. The difference is night and day,
so to speak, if you’ll forgive the pun. Anyhow, what I want you
to take away from today’s lecture is the fact that the moon can
affect our weather. While we still have much to learn we may
well be justified in blaming the moon for a rainy day!

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